Friday, 11 May 2012 16:47

One Dell Idiot does not (have to) a Sexist Field Make Featured

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sexism-pictureIt goes without saying that anyone talking about women as bitches and innovators of only rolling pins is an idiot and doesn’t deserve an audience. What a ridiculous notion, right? Regardless, those points were being touted by the emcee at a Dell summit to the laughter and applause of 800 Dell employees and partners. Myself, I would have walked out. But I wasn’t there, so I guess Dell can suck it the next time I need a laptop. Still, that's not the point.

At least it's not the real point, this moron with a mic - and not this woman’s. What has surprised me so many times in the past, and now again: when sexism in technology is brought up, the loudest commentators and reactors are either saying it doesn’t exist, or that it is deserved. When I first saw Molly Wood’s article describing the Dell summit emcee, she had 12 comments. That grew to 62 within a couple of hours and posts were getting downright stupid. Ms. Wood’s point was that “women in tech” was a topic worth discussing if we want the sexism to decline. But the posts didn’t even acknowledge her point, which is painfully obvious. Instead they were mostly attacks on women in tech or statements of dismissal on the notion of sexism. Gentlemen (and a few ladies): thank you for proving the point, because the conversation clearly does need to continue.

While I have enormous appreciation and gratitude for the many men in my life who wouldn’t think of suggesting I’d chosen the wrong career, there have certainly been a few in my past who said it. The past is the past, but gosh, could I tell some horror stories. Outside of improved personal relationships though, I continue to cope with the idiots of the world in my professional life.

No, we can’t all get along. And yes, I suppose if I were a man, my value might be just as low to some as it is with my being a woman. I get it. But women in tech – or ANY other male-dominated career – tell the truth: have you not ever been in a situation where a man backed you up and your point suddenly gained validity? Or how about when you were the bigger or more professional person by walking away from a confrontation, only to find out later your suggestion was implemented after all? How about this: were you ever referred to as bitchy after a compromise was finally made? Is there not a little sexism there?

I have a friend who has an excellent term for behavior like this: p*nis slinging. Before you get your underpants in a wad – I truly believe men sling as often for other men as for women. Especially geeks, these are some massive egos. That said, like a lot of women faced with this sort of slinging, I often find it serves my purpose and my blood pressure to laugh them off and let them have their way when they spew nonsense. However, a lot of women – they don’t laugh about it when it’s clear their gender is being tied to their intelligence and value. They get embarrassed, or their self-worth plummets, or they shut down. Don’t forget: we are the gentler sex, not the dumber sex.

We do have a lot to learn here, and unfortunately it is sensitive and uncomfortable stuff. But there’s no reason not to have the conversations, no reason not to call out the idiots of the world. No threat exists if we can talk about it without fear of a jerk strong-arming the conversation with baseless and demeaning remarks.

Editor's note:

I have been in IT for well over 20 years and in that time have known many, many women in IT and other technical fields that were exceptional in their skills and professionalism. When someone like thie guy spews this type of idiocy it hurts the entire industry. I have news for all of the guys in IT that feel like the Dell MC does; Women have more buying power than we do. So get used to them in the techologoy fields and in more roles than just Booth Babes.

Photo credit WomenVsTheWorld
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Read 3206 times Last modified on Monday, 14 May 2012 19:40

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